The revered sakura, or cherry blossoms, have been celebrated in landscapes, figure paintings, and prints by artists from medieval Japan to Katsushika Hokusai and beyond. Variously thought of as representing the impermanence of things and the joy of spending time together admiring the blossoms, sakura are symbols of joy and cultural meaning.
In Washington, DC, the cherry tree has become a cherished symbol of the friendship between Japan and the United States. It all began in 1912, when Washington saw the arrival of more than 3,000 Japanese cherry trees, the first two of which were planted in West Potomac Park by First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, the wife of the ambassador of Japan to the United States. Since then, Washington, DC’s National Cherry Blossom Festival has grown to include numerous programs and events celebrating the beauty of nature, community spirit, and international friendship.
While crowds will be limited this year, you won’t have to miss out on hanami, the traditional Japanese custom of “flower viewing.” Celebrate from home with an array of programs and activities that the National Museum of Asian Art is bringing to your fingertips. Go on a curator-led virtual tour of our popular Hokusai exhibition. Bring your group to an interactive docent tour to learn about cherry blossoms in our collections. Explore more Japanese art on your own time with our Objects We Love video series. Take a break and meditate with cherry blossom-themed art in an online Meditation and Mindfulness session, and use specially designed cherry blossom art backgrounds in your next Zoom call.
Curator-led Virtual Gallery Tour
Hokusai: Mad about Painting
Enjoy a tour of the exhibition “Hokusai: Mad about Painting” with Frank Feltens, Japan Foundation Assistant Curator of Japanese Art. Discover masterpieces from the museum’s collection, which is the world’s largest collection of paintings, sketches, and drawings by Hokusai. Learn about the prolific career of this artistic genius who thought he might finally achieve true mastery in painting—if he lived to the age of 110.
Explore Art and Music Online
Treasures from our Japanese Art Collections
Discover Japanese art from our collections and enjoy talks and performances. Our experts love these exceptional objects, and we think you will fall in love with them too.
Online Interactive Docent Tours
Special Cherry Blossom Sessions
Celebrate the season from home by taking your group on a virtual cherry blossom tour! For a limited time beginning Thursday, March 11, go cherry blossom viewing in the museum’s Japanese art collections. Schedule an interactive online tour with one of our docents today.
Join our Online Programs
We invite you to attend our programs focused on Japanese art and culture in honor of cherry blossom season.
Art & Me Preservation Family Workshop | Celebrating Cherry Blossoms
Saturday, March 27, 2021, 10 – 10:45 am
Look & Listen: Nature in Japanese Art and Music, Kurahashi Yodo II, shakuhachi, with curator Frank Feltens
Thursday, April 8, 2021, 7 pm
Teacher Virtual Workshop: Slow Looking and Hokusai
Saturday, April 10, 2021, 11 am – 1 pm
Jasper Quartet: Music for the Cherry Blossom Festival
Saturday, April 10, 2021, 7:30 pm
Meditation and Mindfulness
Art-based Friday Sessions
Meditation helps us build a relationship to a place of inner quietude. To contribute to a sense of calm in this uncertain time, the museum offers free, 30-minute online meditations three times a week led by DC-based meditation teachers. These free sessions are appropriate for all levels of practitioners and include a variety of mindfulness practices. Sessions on Fridays include inspiration from art in the museum collections and guest speakers. In honor of the cherry blossom season, forthcoming sessions (Fridays, April 2 & 9) will focus on objects from our Japanese art collections.
Cherry Blossom Cheer
Join your next Zoom call with a newly designed Zoom background featuring cherry blossom-themed artworks from the Freer and Sackler collections.
Hanami at Home
Shop in our online store for products inspired by our collections.
In Japanese / 日本語によるフリーアとサックラー
Our museum is committed to making our collections and expertise more widely accessible through programs and resources in multiple languages. In this playlist, you will be able to enjoy Japanese-language material. More coming soon!